Honoring Newington Volunteer Cheryl Maida

Assignment: Foster Care

Length of Service: 1 year, 2 months

I chose CHS for my volunteer work because… I decided to pursue fostering after my dog passed away. I knew I had more love to give and felt this was the perfect way!

My advice for new volunteers is… if you are fostering, know that saying goodbye is hard! But it is so worth it knowing they are going to their forever home and that you can continue making a difference in more animals lives.

The animal that has had the biggest impact on my life was… my dog Missy. She was a tiny Maltese that grew up to be a whopping 4 pounds. I had her for almost 16 years before she passed away in 2021. She taught me how to truly love an animal, as well as how to care for an animal in old age, as she became deaf and blind over time. I loved giving her all the extra attention during her later years and losing her made it clear that I wanted to pursue fostering animals that also need extra love and care.

The thing that surprised me the most about working with pets was… They all have such different personalities! I love watching each one slowly come out of their shell and become more comfortable with me and my home. Each animal comes with a completely different experience and I love getting to appreciate each one in different ways.

The little things I do to help make a pets’ stay at CHS better are… I have a bedroom dedicated to the pets I foster. I prepare the room before each animal arrives and try to make them as comfortable as possible. I give them lots of kisses and cuddles, as much as they allow! I also talk to them about the experience, explaining they will be in my home for a short time until they find their forever family. When it’s time for them to get dropped off for adoption I explain how much fun they will have with their new family and thank them for our time together. I want the animals to feel safe and loved when they are with me, as I know they are going through a stressful time.

My favorite things to do outside of CHS are… Spending time with my family and friends.

One way the pets have changed me for the better is… Fostering has pushed me out of my comfort zone and therefore helped me become a more flexible person overall. I can tend to want everything just the way I like it, but when a foster animal comes into your home you have to adjust and accommodate, and I have grown tremendously in my ability to do just that. This translates into other areas of my life and I am so grateful for this growth.